With all of Lincoln’s 195 precincts counted, the Democrats cleaned up in Lincoln last night — from Mayor Chris Beutler walking away with a landslide to three of the four council seats going to Democrats to a 26-year-old newcomer defeating an incumbent to get elected to the airport authority.
That means Lincoln now has a Democratic mayor and a City Council loaded with five Democrats, and two Republicans. One Republican and two Democrats were added to the School Board.
It was a good night to be a Dem:
• Democratic Mayor Beutler easily defeated Republican Tammy Buffington, 65 percent to 35 percent.
• Incumbent Democrat Doug Emery walloped Republican Melissa Hilty, 67 to 32 percent.
• Incumbent Jon Camp was the rare Republican who nabbed a victory over Democrat Bobbie Kosmicki, 56 to 44 percent.
• Incumbent Democrat Jonathan Cook beat Republican Travis Nelson, 64 to 36 percent.
• Newcomer Democrat Carl Eskridge leads Republican Chad Wright, 51 to 49 percent.
• Former county treasurer and Republican Richard Nuernberger and newcomer and 26-year-old Democrat Anna Wishart were elected to the Airport Authority.
• Republican incumbent School Board member Richard Meginnis batted back challenger Christina Buccholz, 51 to 49 percent — that one might even be close enough to challenge.
• Democrat Katie McLeese Stephenson clobbered Republican Angela Hogan, 61 to 38 percent, to win a seat on the School Board.
• Democrat School Board member Ed Zimmer ran unopposed.
As I said on Jack & John this morning, this is how a political party can change its fortunes on the statewide level. Some day some of these office-holders will move up to higher offices (Anna Wishart, I’m lookin at you!), and that’s how you turn a ship around. So if you don’t think the election results matter much in the grand scheme of things, you’re dead wrong.
It’s not that you shouldn’t vote. You should definitely vote.
It’s just that it’s pretty clear today will be the day of Democrats winning all over the city. My predictions:
• Incumbent Democrat Doug Emery will win handily in District 1 over newcomer Melissa Hilty, whose lack of yard signs in northeast Lincoln indicates a lack of either a) money or b) enthusiasm.
• Incumbent Republican Jon Camp will win — although not as easily as he would have, given fellow Republican and arena watchdog Jane Kinsey’s late write-in entry into the race, which will chip away at his lead over Democrat Bobbi Kosmicki. It could be a tense night for Camp.
• Incumbent Democrat Jonathan Cook will win District 3 by a wide margin over Republican Travis Nelson, who has been tarred and feathered by the state Democratic Party for having financial problems.
• No incumbents in District 4 — but Democrat Carl Eskridge should win quite easily over Chad Wright, whose late surge (and infusion of money) won’t be enough. Although Eskridge didn’t exactly bring new ideas to the table, he seems like a sensible man whose gentle temperment and conciliatory background will be welcome.
• Mayor Chris Beutler will win in a landslide over newcomer Tammy Buffington — and this might be a good time for the Republicans to start recruiting a more viable candidate for the next mayoral election. Tammy is a nice person, but she’s in over her head.
• Here’s how easy it is for an incumbent to get re-elected: Republican Richard Nuernberger, who served as county treasurer for 32 years, doesn’t even have a yard sign in front of his own house. I don’t know if he’s done a single thing to campaign. And yet, his name is so familiar to voters that they’ll elect him today.
• The Democrats have put so much time, effort and money behind 26-year-old newcomer and Democrat Anna Wishart that I expect she’ll defeat incumbent Republican Chris Hove. Wishart knows what Buffington doesn’t: You gotta start small and work your way up.
So there you have it! The new City Council most likely will have five Democrats and two Republicans. Jon Camp and Adam Hornung will be like gnats on Beutler’s backside… as he positions himself to run for governor in three years. Unless, of course, you voters had something else in mind…
Councilman Jon Camp held a press conference yesterday to decry the negative campaigning state Democrats have waged in an effort to unseat the incumbent Republican, who has held his seat for a dozen years.
Here’s the press release:
Today, I want to speak to you about a very important issue facing Lincoln politics, the complete degradation of Lincoln’s political elections—as exemplified by the 3 attack pieces mailed to my constituents in the last few days.
Before I start, I want to assure you that if there is reason to criticize my true record, I consider that a “clean hit” and would not be addressing you today. Officeholders need to be held accountable for the actions taken as elected officials and I am fine with that.
However, what I am going to discuss with you today is the total opposite of legitimate criticism. It is the manufacturing of distortions and outright lies at the last minute in an election cycle, to scare voters away from a candidate. It is a tactic that is embraced by those who have little regard for the intelligence of the voter and it is a tactic birthed by the greed and self interest of those who paid for it.
Within the last three days, the Nebraska Democrat Party created and mailed three attack pieces to my City Council district, knowing full well that they were filled with lies. The pieces were so blatantly distorted, that the Lincoln Journal Star gave them a clear rebuke in its April 29th editorial.
Unfortunately for the citizens of Lincoln, certain leaders in the Nebraska Democrat Party lack integrity. In these three instances, the Nebraska Democrat Party has become an agent for a special interest group that wants to attack me. This is an insult to most Democrats who believe in conducting campaigns with honesty and integrity.
I have many Democratic friends who support my candidacy and I have high regard for many of the public servants who are part of the Democratic Party. I know that most Democrats do not approve of this type of behavior. The time has come for these fine Democrats to contact the Nebraska Democrat Party and remind them that this is Lincoln, Nebraska—not Chicago—and demand that Nebraska integrity be observed during political campaigns. The citizens of Lincoln deserve better.
In addition to this, I want to share the second reason these mailings are so troubling. I have reason to believe that the entire effort was paid for by the Lincoln Firefighters Union, which wrote a check for $30,000 to the Nebraska Democrat Party in March 2011 to pay for these last minute smear mailings. I have been assured by Mayor Beutler’s campaign that none of the $14,000 his campaign contributed to the Nebraska Democrat Party went to this type of campaigning.
The question needs to be asked: Why did the leaders of the Lincoln Firefighters Union, whose members want to be viewed as life saving heroes, throw integrity out the window and fabricate lies against a sitting City Council Member and try to buy an election with their huge contribution?
There can be only one reason, in the past, I have told them “NO”. I have refused to be bullied, manipulated and pushed into labor contracts that are incredibly expensive. I have stood strong for the taxpayers of Lincoln, while making certain that our citizens were safe.
In my opinion, the leaders of the Lincoln Firefighters’ Union want weak public servants that they can manipulate. They want puppets that they can control so they will give them more today, more tomorrow and more in years to come, regardless of the cost to the citizens of Lincoln. The Lincoln Firefighters’ Union wants a blank check from taxpayers and when you stand against their excessive wants, they resort to distasteful campaign tactics.
In my twelve years of service on the Lincoln City Council, when it was right, I have told them “NO”. I hope the voters of Lincoln tell them “No” on Election Day, May 3rd, and that the citizens of Lincoln will not be manipulated by these underhanded tactics.
With regard to the three mailings, I’d like to conclude with this statement:
1. I have one of the best attendance records on the Council;
2. I have never put my personal interests above that of the citizens of Lincoln;
3. I am deeply concerned about public safety; and
4. I have worked tirelessly to make sure that proper research and intelligence is gathered before our council acts on all matters of public concern.
You can count on Jon Camp being a “watch dog” for the citizens and taxpayers of Lincoln–I will never be a “lap dog” for ANY special interest group, especially those who want a blank check from the taxpayers.